Being rowed across the Tweed River to get to school, the young Margaret would not have realised the incredible contribution she would make to the art narrative of the Tweed Region and Northern Rivers.
Art has an immense way of speaking to the viewer and telling a tale of past, present and future, of cultural shifts and progress and changes in beliefs and values. It documents moments in time, explores the natural environment and reflects on significant events.
Whilst we celebrate Margaret Olley’s 100-year anniversary of her birth and stand in awe of her paintings and the reconstruction of her home which is housed in the Tweed Regional Gallery, we can also look toward our current artists who live, work and play in the region.
As an emerging artist myself and owner of Mist Gallery, I’ve been in a fortunate position to work with an extraordinarily talented group of artists who live right here on our doorstep. Artists who live amongst us but are often too modest to say what they do.
Artists have a knack of expressing ideas, emotions and narratives that can’t be explained in words. Their choice of brushstroke, colour, and technique add to a thoughtful composition carefully balancing how much is and isn’t represented to allow space for personal connection and interpretation.
Scott McDougall lives and paints in Stokers Siding, exhibiting at Mist Gallery. His upcoming show in October 2023 is one that explores the hinterland and the rocky landscapes along Tenterfield. McDougall recently won the Doyle’s prize for his painting Tenterfield Gold, which captures an incredible sense of space, light and energy of the district. McDougall’s painting can sometimes be mistaken for photographs. They are photo-realistic in style and draw the viewer across the canvas taking in details that have been carefully considered and painted to perfection
Teamed with McDougall for an exhibition in October is John Corby, who lives and paints in Pottsville. Corby’s approach is reminiscent of the impressionists. He captures daily life on the coast, such as, children playing in the rock pools, surfers scanning the waves, and patient anglers hoping to bring home a feed for the family. These, often small oil paintings by Corby, resonate with locals and visitors alike. They encapsulate the essence of coastal life and transport people to a time and place often cherished with friends and family.
The artists of the region are many and varied. Up and coming artist, Josette Macpherson, who has just recently completed a new body of work, Falling Water, takes inspiration from the waterways and networks of the Northern Rivers. Her interest in the movement and energy of water is not only expressed in her paintings, but also forms part of her leisure time with her young family, as they play and swim in the waterholes close to her parent’s home near Whian Whian. Macpherson is one of the latest artists represented by Mist Gallery.
Similarly inspired is the whimsical work of Jenna-Lee Joy Balk. Jenna has recently joined the stable of artists at Mist Gallery after having a successful solo show, Bringing in JOY. She intuitively paints using her recollection of place, childhood memories and the feeling of nostalgia. Letting the brush flow, guide and take her back to beautiful memories. Jenna's works take you into the rainforests and swimming holes and invite you to bathe in their dappled light. Figures in the paintings, dwarfed by the scale of the landscape, signify family ties and connection to place.
We live work and play in an extraordinary part of the world and we can’t help but reflect and respond creatively.
by Helen Otway
1b/51 Tweed Coast Rd, Cabarita Beach NSW 2488